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Non-Profit Public Charity

Managing EPI

Dogs with Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) have a malabsorption and maldigestion condition where the pancreas is no longer producing enough pancreatic enzymes to digest fats, carbohydrates and proteins. Because of this, dogs (and also cats) will often present with unexplained weight loss, diarrhea/cow-patty like yellow/pale stools. Although EPI was once thought to be just a German Shepherd condition, it is now found in all breeds. That is why Epi4Dogs was created, because of Izzy, a little Spanish Water Dog born on July 11, 2005 diagnosed with EPI on December 15, 2006, who wasn’t supposed to have ‘that German Shepherd condition’. Izzy passed away on February 13, 2020 at almost 15 years old.  May her legacy of helping others with EPI live on………..

January 2, 2020

It is with deep sadness to share that Rilind has passed away, (FB page Rilind Reborn )

Eight years ago, Rilind was found tossed in a dumpster, left like trash . He was a mere 37 lbs.


He was rescued by the Pit Sisters who lovingly cared for him and their vet diagnosed him with EPI  (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency). In the many years that followed, Rilind has been fostered and then adopted by wonderful people who continued to lovingly care for him. Rilind became the “spokesdog”  for dogs in need, with EPI, and against breed-specific legislation.

He was show-cased on all Epi4Dogs marketing materials and this website and his story and pictures literally stopped crowds at vet conferences and causing people to ask “what is EPI??” which helped us bring better awareness to EPI.  His story and pictures have also been shared world wide with other veterinarian schools in many countries outside the USA printed in their vet journals, posters, discussed in their vet school classes.  Rilind was loved by thousands and our hearts are broken now that he is gone…. but his legacy will continue to live on and help those  struggling with EPI . 


Getting Involved

A treatable condition

Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency (EPI) in dogs and cats is when acinar cells atrophy, sometimes called Pancreatic Acinar Atrophy (PAA), in the exocrine part of the pancreas and is no longer producing sufficient digestive enzymes: Lipase, Amylase, Trypsin & Protease that are needed to properly digest nutrients from food. This leads to maldigestion and malabsorption causing weight loss, loose stools, coprophagia, SIBO / SID (small intestinal dysbiosis), low B12. EPI in dogs and cats is manageable with the right balance of pancreatic enzymes with every meal, an agreeable diet, B12 supplementation if needed, along with appropriate SID management with prebiotics, or prebiotics with probiotics, or antibiotics if needed to get SID under control.

Who We Are

Epi4Dogs is a 501(c)(3) Non-Profit Public Charity EPI Research and Awareness organization with zero dollars for administration fees as Epi4Dogs is 100% volunteer-based. Recommendations on this site are supported by EPI veterinarian protocols, veterinarian EPI researchers, veterinarian publications, along with actual EPI pet owner’s day-to-day observations and experience. Epi4Dogs is GDPR Compliant.


Epi4Dogs has and continues to assist and collaborate with various vet schools on EPI genetics, gastrointestinal, and nutritional research to further the understanding of EPI. We have been published multiple times in general media publications and have co-authored veterinarian research publications.

Mission statement

Epi4Dogs Foundation Inc.’s purpose is advancement of science and education of EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency for dogs) by raising funds for EPI research that will yield useful insights or positive outcomes in better managing the EPI health condition in dogs and cats, and promoting EPI education through EPI awareness efforts by educating the public and offering assistance to pet owners, vet schools, veterinarians and veterinary researchers.

A community of volunteers

Our goal is to have the most current EPI information all in one place to better assist the veterinarian community, to help the EPI pet owner readily recognize EPI signs, and to encourage all to work together for the best possible outcome for the EPI dog (and cat)!

Years since original 2008 website launch

Years since new website re-launch 7-2018

Total registered members

Website page hits since re-launch

Member countries

Publications, collaborations, conferences attended & seminar stalls held

Total website page hits


Important introductory information

Here ye, here ye

News & Announcements

Izzy's passing Feb 13, 2020

It is with deep sadness to share with you that the inspiration for Epi4Dogs, Izzy, passed away on
February 13, 2020, from kidney failure at the age of 15. Our hearts are broken and our home is
so silent and empty……

Izzy was a funny, sweet, joyful and very affectionate plain brown little Spanish water dog, who had a huge personality and was so full of life!  

Every day for 15 years, Izzy would wake me up and we would start our routine. I swear she woke up smiling, with a twinkle in her eye and started planning her mischievous little antics for that day. She sure could make us laugh. Izzy was such a little smarty pants that I could just talk to her and she’d do whatever I asked. And she loved to tease the other dogs in the house. Everything that was hers was hers, and what was theirs was hers too. We dubbed her “greedy girl”. But on the flip side, she was a great little helper.  No matter what I asked her to do for me, she did. Whether is was to bring something to me like my shoes, (and she always brought the correct matching set of footwear too), glasses, clothing, jewelry, etc. Or get something from my pocketbook like keys, wallet or comb, or if she had a job to do like put away the toys or carry dirty laundry to the laundry room, or bring me something I needed that I was working on. It was uncanny how she knew what I needed when I asked for something. When we went places, folks had fun with her because we would take an object from their person, hide it and Izzy would find it and return the item back to the right person within seconds. She loved going to the nursing home and always knew which patients needed a little extra time or doggie kisses.

Over time, she developed multiple health conditions in addition to EPI, but had such a positive spirit that she not only survived she flourished through it all. Until last week, when the light went out of her eyes and I knew it was time to let her go.   We had a vet come to the house Feb 13th and Izzy passed quietly in my arms in our home. But even before she left this earth, she still managed to help one more dog, by giving her remaining enzymes to the vet that helped her cross over, to help another client that was struggling.  Ironically, on the same day that Izzy passed away, a research grad student was approved to do EPI research on a new EPI Genetics Study at Clemson University. 

She was my best friend, my all-time companion, once in a life-time heart dog, who taught me so much. She literally changed the course of my life. So many have said that I took such good care of her and gave her so much of my time… but they all had it backwards, I was the lucky one to have had Izzy in my life!  God Speed Sweet Girl.


Izzy, who developed EPI (Exocrine Pancreatic Insufficiency), was the inspiration for Epi4Dogs, that was started 12 years ago and later became a non-profit charitable organization.  At the time of her diagnosis she was only 1+1/2 years old. I had no idea what this condition was. When I researched it, it said only German Shepherds and Rough Coated Collies developed EPI. What? Izzy was a Spanish Water Dog! And then when I found out how expensive the enzymes were. I was in shock. I remember my husband saying, you know we can’t afford these enzymes for the life of the dog. But how could we put her down, she was such a sweet little being.  So, I started researching the internet. Luckily, I eventually connected with Enzyme Diane. Thank Goodness… because of Enzyme Diane we were able to afford the enzymes for Izzy and I will forever be grateful to her!

In the meantime, I was troubled that there wasn’t more current EPI information out there, EPI research was not really being pursued, and that it was a misnomer that only GSDs and Rough Coated Collies got EPI. So, Epi4Dogs was born.

The objective of Epi4Dogs was and continues to be to bring better awareness to the condition and to help those struggling with EPI. And to further EPI research in hopes of finding answers as to why EPI happens. Epi4Dogs now has over 4,000 members and has assisted almost 3,000,000 people world-wide since it’s existence. And finally, EPI is now recognized in all breeds. 

Over the years, Epi4Dogs has connected with some of the best veterinarian researchers and veterinarian universities worldwide. Some have collaborated with us on research, some have advised and guided us, others have sought us out for advice and information. We have been published multiple times and have presented at many seminars and conferences through the years. Some of the EPI research that Epi4Dogs has collaborated on has been on Genetics, Bile Acids, Dysbiosis, Vitamin Supplementation, Metabolomics, Microbiome, Slippery Elm, Enteric Coated Enzymes, etc.

In honor of Izzy’s legacy and all the advances that have been made because of her inspiration. I would like to acknowledge and thank those that have helped us accomplish so much.  First, I am forever thankful to:

* Dr. David A Williams (Univ of Illinois), the premier vet researcher & developer of the gold-standard TLI test who has become my mentor in all things EPI and who guided and advised me along the way.  Dr. Williams is also the lead investigator in multiple EPI research projects along with:
* Dr. Patrick Barko (Univ of Illinois), an innovative and rising star in research, currently one of the lead researchers in the Metabolomic & Microbiome study. 
* Dr. Leigh Anne Clark (Clemson Univ) who has done multiple EPI genetics studies and is continuing her work on EPI genetics.
* Dr. Jan Suchodolski (Texas A&M Gastrointestinal Lab /TAMU) who has also done multiple studies on EPI gut flora/microbiome.
* Dr. Kate Tsai (Clemson)
* Dr. Jorg Steiner (TAMU),
* Dr. Cyrus (TAMU)
* Dr. Anne Mossler (Germany),
* Dr. Penny Watson (UK)

All who have all contributed to Epi4Dogs and EPI Research.  

And last but not least, a very special and heartfelt thanks to Craig Taylor who created our fantastic website, and to the wonderful, staff at Epi4Dogs (Andrea, Ann, Barb, Craig, Dar, Devika, Diane, Elisabeth, Fiona, Jean, Jill, Judy, Julie, Madelon, Paula, Shirl, Staci, Susan, Terry and Tracey). All who volunteer their time and knowledge 24/7 to help others.

Thank you to all who have helped make Epi4dogs be what it is today and may Izzy’s EPI legacy continue to help others for as long as needed…………..

Olesia C. Kennedy, Founder
Epi4Dogs Foundation, Inc.

Ode to Maddie Moo

Just thought we’d share…………. a beautiful tribute to a very special dog,”Maddie Moo” , that Paul & Ann were lucky enough to share their lives and home with………

Epi4Dogs at the 2019 AVMA Conference

Epi4Dogs, Founder, President and Vice President were in attendance (booth #2092) at the 2019 AVMA (American Veterinary Medical Association Conference) August 2nd thru August 6th in Washington, D.C.

                                                                                                              Diane S (left) with Madelon H (right)

University of Illinois collaboration

In an effort to find possible triggers to EPI, Epi4Dogs has collaborated for the past 3 years with the University of Illinois on the Maya Metabolomic Study. The study is almost completed and the results are expected to be published end of summer/fall time 2019.

Your EPI dog on a textbook cover???

Epi4Dogs was contacted by the co-author of an upcoming veterinary textbook. They were looking for high resolution “before and after” photos of dogs to use on the cover of a veterinarian textbook, for a “pre-publication” release announcement for the British Small Animal Veterinary Association (BSAVA).

So many of us have seen our EPI dogs go through these “before and after” stages …. 

Although Epi4Dogs has no control over the photo selection, we truly hope that someone, somewhere in EPI community, has “before and after” photos of their EPI dog that will fit the publisher’s criteria, and (with your permission of course) be published on the cover of an upcoming textbook 

All photo’s were accepted only until Monday, March 4, 2019……… June 2019: We have been informed that photo selection has now been delayed as the focus is on content. Will update here when photo selection has been made.


2019 HallMark Rescue Dog Show

“CupCake, a little Chihuahua with EPI and Diabetes won the 2019 HallMark Rescue Dog Show ” Best in Special Needs” award.



Epi4Dogs President's visit with Rilind December 2018

December 26, 2018, our President, Madelon Hale got to visit with Rilind, the famous EPI dog.  Here they are together:

New EPI Dog Research- Aug 22, 2018

EPI Dogs & Lipid Soluble Vitamin Research just published Aug 22, 2018 in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine.  Key investigators Drs. Patrick Barko & David Williams, Univ of Illinois. Epi4Dogs assisted with the patient registry for this study and funding. Epi4Dogs was not involved with the design nor interpretation of any of the findings. The full research can be read on the Epi4Dogs EPI Research page: 

Seminar slides now available

Slide Presentations from the EPI (EXOCRINE PANCREATIC INSUFFICIENCY) SEMINAR on Sept 7, 2017  in Lebanon, TN are on the EPI Seminar page: 

EPI is manageable

Before & After

Images of our pups when diagnosed and after proper treatment

Watch this tremendous tribute to the efforts of many members in successfully managing EPI from diagnosis to stability.

This is Rilind, rescued by The Pit Sisters a wonderful organization, who joined our EPI forum and properly diagnosed Rilind with EPI…

…and this is Rilind, 3 months later after proper treatment for EPI was implemented!

Rilind has been adopted to his forever home….. please feel free to follow his story on Rilind Reborn Facebook page!


Chunky Monkey Club!

Success stories from the EPI forum

EPI4dogs on

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One of the first questions many people ask when their dog is diagnosed with EPI is "What about treats?" We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but EPI dogs shouldn't have any treats at all until they are stable, which means at least 3 months of consistently good poops. After that, there are some possible options if you want to give your EPI dog treats. Check out the Treats page on our website to learn more. ... See MoreSee Less

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2 months ago

Our Shepherd was diagnosed with EPI 6 years ago so we’ve been working with it for some time. Haven’t really found a helpful vet so most of what we’ve done is just a result from my own research.

I’m concerned because he is losing weight and very very loose stools again along with terrible smell.

Should I try changing our dose of enzymes? Could he need more? He’s never taken B12- I’m wondering if we need to supplement with some of that? I just feel like he’s losing weight extremely quick and I’m anxious and unsure where to even start. Every vet we have been to has never treated the issue so we feel like we are starting over!
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Our Contacts

Contact Madelon the President or Olesia the Founder of EPI4dogs directly using the details below. Also visit our contact page to send our volunteer staff an email.

 To contact individuals responsible for specific activities please see the Our Team page.



Call our Founder & Research Director, Olesia Kennedy on

(+1) 919-302-9892

Email our  Executive President Madelon Hale at